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Yes? Good. So do some of us at The Lobby, and we thought we should share a little known (?) secret with you. Namely the RestoPass, available in – hold on to your hats – Brussels and Singapore!

The idea is as simple and clean as a well prepared gazpacho; buy the pass for €35 (at Fnac, Filigranes, Sterling Books and Waterstones for instance) and get 30% off the bill at each first visit in each of the 30 selected restaurants all across Brussels. Yes, the offer is for the whole table! If you do the maths this pass is worth €1500 in total…

The 30 selected restaurants include classics such as Belgo-Belge, Asian gems such as Blue Elephant and Le IIème Element, and more trendy spots such as Rouge Tomate, Sépia, La Quincaillerie, Cospaia and La Manufacture.

If you’re into food and restaurants, this is the pass to get.

– Emil

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4 August 2009, Mi Tango restaurant - can you spot The Lobby in this photo?

4 August 2009, Mi Tango restaurant - can you spot The Lobby in this photo?

If you are looking for a nice restaurant and have grown tired with the crowd of the city centre, Place du Luxembourg, or Place St. Boniface, The Lobby can wholeheartedly recommend you to make a little detour to the Argentinean Restaurant Mi Tango on Rue du Spa.

As soon as the sun breaks up the clouds above the Brussels skyline, they move all their furniture outside and the well-humoured staff will serve your table with that oh-so relaxed South American vibe.

The meat is imported from Argentina, known for its tender and succulent meat often hung for months, the secret to which are the vast rolling fields in which the cows roam freely. Just like in Argentina, the meat comes straight from the “asado” (barbecue) and is served with Chimichurri, a delicious herb sauce used both as a marinade and as a dressing sauce. Mi Tango also has an excellent wine selection (try the Malbec!), and for non-meat lovers they serve fabulous stuffed pastas and salads.

Apart from the quality food, what Mi Tango has which so many other restaurants in Brussels don’t is a warm welcome. The staff enjoy making you feel at home and genuinely care about the food they serve. They will vacate nearby tables in order for you to sit more comfortably without you even having to ask for it. And if you are unable to finish your plate and ask for a doggy-bag, you will not be confronted with the rolling eyes you get in so many other Brussels restaurants. (Really, what happened to “le client est roi”?).

Yesterday, whilst the Lobby was soaking up the sun, our waiter slipped and one of the dishes fell on the floor. After a wry smile, our order went back to the kitchen where they started again from scratch, and we were compensated for the extra waiting time with some delicious bruscetta offered by the house. To finish your dinner in style, try the excellent homemade tiramisu (big enough for two in the event of a romantic dinner) or with some traditional Argentinean Dulce de Leche pancakes. You could be forgiven for thinking you were having dinner in a Buenos Aires barrio…!

– Lieneke

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Commission President Barroso with the Kokob Team

Commission President Barroso with the Kokob Team

If you’ve never experienced the spicy joy of eating Ethiopian food, then Kokob is the place to go. Kokob is an Ethiopian restaurant on 10 Rue des Grands Carmes with great atmosphere and very welcoming staff. Food is served in the traditional Ethiopian way; in the middle of the table on one big platter. You use your hands to make small parcels of meat and vegetables using ‘injera’ a type of crêpe-like bread, and while you’re at it you should try some ‘tedj’ – Ethiopian honey wine.

The menu features all of the classics you would find in Addis Ababa; doro wot (chicken, egg and berbere spice), begh tibs (lamb with onions, tomatoes and green peppers), ketfo (Ethiopian-style steak tartar), and shiro wot (pea flour and shallots with berbere spice) to name but a few. Yes, it’s different and yes eating with your hands can get a bit messy for the uninitiated – but it is fun, tasty, and you get to experience a truly aromatic cuisine. Having spent time in Ethiopia the Lobby can entirely vouch for the quality and authenticity of the food.

You still need convincing? Well, Commission President Barroso has already given his stamp of approval to Kokob…

Now, go, pick up the phone, and book a table!

– Emil

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Although the area around the Midi Station in Brussels is perhaps not the most inviting at night there is a nice spot for drinks and food on 26 Place Victor Horta – Midi Station.

Midi Station is all about being a complete all-in-one concept featuring a lounge bar, a cigar room, a restaurant and a nightclub. It was designed by Antoine Pinto so if you’re familiar with the Belga Queen, the Saint Michel clinic or La Quincaillerie you’ll recognise the style of the venue (and the menu).

The menu is extensive and features both nouvelle cuisine and traditional hearty Belgian dishes. The plates are plentiful and nicely presented and the cocktails are well shaken or stirred.

If you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, a place to have a drink with friends, clients or colleagues, Midi Station will surely do the trick. The level of service can vary however…

– Emil

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Hidden away on 83 Rue de Trône is a tiny sushi restaurant with only three seats called ‘La Belle de Jour’. You could easily miss it walking down the street as the exterior façade is rather discreet and unpretentious, but that would be a mistake as the sushi is absolutely brilliant!

It’s mostly a take away place for obvious reasons but once in a while you see a couple or colleagues enjoying lunch together. The menu is almost exclusively composed of sushi and sashimi of very high quality. Being quite the sushi fan, with Tokyo experience, I can vouch for the quality of the food as being top-notch. A dish we can really recommend is Chirashizushi, it’s basically pure pleasure in a bowl, well worth trying.

Whether the name is somehow connected the 1967 film starring Catherine Deneuve called “Belle de jour” remains a mystery. Does anyone know?

– Emil

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